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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Janesville "Priorities" Budget Cuts Police and Fire For Special Interest Bureau

From the "can't make this stuff up" category comes Monday's discussion on the city budget held by our beloved Janesville City Council.

Believe it or not, a commotion developed between several council members and the council president when it was discovered that a secret meeting took place to negotiate a funding agreement with the director of the quasi-public/private Janesville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Accusations of a possible walking quorum and questions about the legality of the meeting went flying before the council devolved into a near total state of confusion.

It was probably a little dangerous of me two weeks ago to re-animate a story told by one of the "conservatives" on the city council, Brian Fitzgerald, when he explained how necessary it is for city government to boost funding to the special interest bureau. You might recall how the lady in the tower spun straw into gold when she said that every tax dollar spent on the bureau returns seventeen dollars. That's all run-of-the-mill politicians need to hear and sure enough, several council members were literally tripping over themselves looking for more taxpayer money to throw at the bureau.

Ironically but not surprising to me, one council member who supported spending more on the bureau than agreed to before, Duwayne Severson, gave a short speech how government employees make only just enough cuts to meet the demands of the council's requests. That is, if you ask them to look for $100K in cuts, that's exactly what they'll do. They won't come back with $200K in cuts because he said, "that's how government works." So, after whipping the administration (government) for doing what they're told, he proposes spending even more. That's how priorities work.

All in all, what ended holding up the city's $42 million budget session for two hours revolved around several council members who would stop at nothing at spending an additional $54,400 on top of the increase previously agreed to for the Convention Bureau.

The final votes on the budget however, struck down the "new" $54,400 increase to the bureau so the budget can balance. In short, the council went full circle to restore funding to pay for downtown snow removal by cutting $30,893 from Police and Fire - a cut originally designed to offset the increase for their sacred convention bureau.


Janesville City Council - Video. Accusations about holding a secret meeting begins at the 1:00:00 mark. Final budget summary and votes begin at the 2:24:00 mark.

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